12 July 2008

The Telegraph interviews our Presiding Bishop

The more I know of and about our Presiding Bishop, the more I love her.

The American Indians received a birth name and throughout their lives, they might have many name changes. The changes were based on some task accomplished, a deed of bravery, or something humorous the person did.

Well, I think we should practice that custom and give Bishop Jefferts Schori a new name. I propose “Fearless Kate.” Or, perhaps, “Kate the brave.”

Now, our primate has stepped into the debate on women bishops in the Church of England. In an interview in Tuesday’s Telegraph, ++Jefferts Schori said

"I think there's a whole range of reasons why people aren't comfortable with the idea [of women bishops].

"It's personal antipathy, and it's a misunderstanding of leadership in the early church. The early church had women in leadership roles."

This is not going to go over well on some sites we will not mention. I can hear the outcry, now.

Dr. Jefferts Schori weighed in on the debate over openly gay clergy according to the article in the Telegraph

When asked if she thought the Anglican Communion is heading for a schism over the introduction of women bishops and homosexual clergy, she replied, "There is a great deal of anxiety around the Communion and the world. People are faced with a range of changes and a pace of change that is unknown in human history. But all will be well.

"The Elizabethan settlement was about keeping together people who have vastly different opinions and people were ready to die and kill each other then. This is a slightly lower level of hostility."

[S]he dismissed the threat of orthodox Anglicans who are planning to create a rival structure to her church because of its liberal stance on homosexuality.

The LDS have a hymn whose first line is, “We thank thee O God for a prophet to guide us in these latter-days.” I think Episcopalians should adopt that line and say it many times a day. Thank you, God, for our presiding bishop and her prophetic voice. Thank you for her wisdom when I was criticizing her for not coming down like a ton of bricks on renegade bishops.

11 July 2008

A Day for Celebration

Today, 11 July 2008, is a red-letter day in my life’s calendar because two very dear friends are getting married this afternoon. It will be a small event for family and intimate friends in Santa Barbara, California. It’s about time these two people tied the knot. They have been “living in sin” for twenty years!

But this is not just any ordinary old marriage. Bart and Tony will be the first same-gender couple I know to be legally married in California, or anywhere, for that matter.

I am, unfortunately, old enough to remember when the U.S. Supreme Court stunned the nation with the Loving Decision in 1967. I remember how happy my race-blind parents were when the decision was announced. I did not understand excitement because I was too young to appreciate the bold and righteous step the court had taken.

I am old enough now to appreciate and understand. I thank God that I have lived to see the California Supreme Court shock the state and the nation by its stand for “liberty justice for all.” Tony’s and Bart’s marriage is truly a monumental event in American justice and a major step toward equality. The battle is not over, though, and we must be ever vigilant.

But for Tony and Bart, and for those of us who know and love them, today is not about politics: it is about a “loving” event. Eventually they will gather at their tiny mission church and a priest (or bishop!) will ask a packed church “Will each of you do all in your power to uphold these to persons in the marriage?” and we will shout, “We Will!” And I think that’s when I’ll cry with joy. However, that will come later “when the church is over it.”

After twenty years, it is hard for me to be too excited about the "Bart and Tony" nuptials. There will be no change in their daily lives, or our relationship to them. They will still be Bart and Tony. Bart and I will still talk non-stop, each of us trying to get a word in edge-wise as we solve the church’s problems. Quiet Tony will still be in the background cooking up a storm – and can he cook! Occasionally, Tony will offer a pithy, poignant comment, or serve up a sarcastic tidbit to add leaven to the solemn conversations.

No, not much will change except that they will have legal protection for their love for one another.

Congratulations, Tony and Bart!

10 July 2008

Episcopal Life

Friday morning I will be having a major surgery so my posts though Monday are already written and scheduled to be posted automatically.

Episcopal Life is a wonderful news outlet for events in the Church. In fact, major announcements are posted there. One never knows whose name one might read there. It might be a really good idea if we stayed glued to the site in the next couple of days.

One thing that we do know is that a certain someone is good at listening to the world. Now, wouldn't that be a great name for a web site or a blog, perhaps.

GAFCON's newest seismic actvity

Here in California we are accustomed to small quakes. Many times these small quakes will cause a crack in the plaster. It’s just part of the price we pay for living in California.

Today there was a small tremor that caused a crack – in GAFCON. Apparently the Primate of Hong Kong, The Most Rev’d. Paul Kwong, is not in the Akinola fold after all. Kwong criticized the recent conference and its manifesto. He said that GAFCON inflicted “severe harm” to the whole Anglican Communion.

He also criticized the GAFCON primates for refusing to dialogue with the rest of he Communion and also for chosing to boycott Lambeth.

Adding to the fire was the archbishop’s comment that Anglicans with various opinions on human sexuality need to “address their concern though Dialogue.”

Although Kwong is opposed to the consecration of openly gay bishops and also same-gender blessings, he said the “church rejects traditionalists’ plans to set up a Primate Council without the mandate of the Communion.”

He also urged all provinces to “respect the traditional mechanisms and organizationa structures” which were implemented to deal with challenge and also urged the Communion to solve the differences though dialogue.

Can we say, “crrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrack?” Read about it here.

09 July 2008

More hate and ignorance from Orombi

Tuesday, there were four items about which I wanted to comment, but I could pick only one. Jake, how did you chose what was most important? Today’s post is from Tuesday. For some reason, the blog-gods omitted part of my post and sent it out hours before it was scheduled. Here is the full text.

My granny used to say, “You’re never free from surprises until you’re dead.” How correct she was.

It seems that the gay mafia has a hit on Archbishop Orombi.

Now, my first response was to laugh. If he materializes into every Anglican Church in the western world next Sunday, I bet less than one percent of the world’s Anglicans would have any clue who he is. As for the GLBT community, I will wager that number is at 0.001 of a percent. Why would any group put a hit out on a man whom less than one in 50,000 people even know is alive? I mean, who, exactly, does Orombi think he is.

My second response was sadness -- great sadness. How horrible it must be to be Mr. Orombi. To be filled with so much hate is detrimental to a one’s mental and spiritual state

Let's consider Orombi’s statement from an article at New Vision. You really have to read the entire brief article.

“Nowadays, I don’t wear my collar when I am in countries which have supporters of homosexuals,” he said while addressing Christians at Kitunga archdeaconry, West Ankole diocese in Ntungamo district.

“I am forced to dress like a civilian because those people are dangerous. They can harm anybody who is against them. Some of them are killers. They want to close the mouth of anybody who is against them.”

He argued that God created men and women so that they could have children and fill the world so that the generations could continue. “So where do the homosexuals want to get their children?” he asked.

“They” are dangerous. “They” are killers. “They” are out to recruit children. What a strong statement of love from this Christian. What an ignorant statement it is, too.

This is symptomatic of a man who has mental problems not to mention a hugely over inflated ego. One must wonder how he and Akinola can be friends – to super egos in the same room at the same time.

It is a grandstanding in an attempt to shift the focus from his homophobic words and deed to portraying himself as a martyr. Why do all the leaders of the schism have martyr complexes?

He says the world’s gays are out to kill him but he does not offer a shred of evidence. How typical. Duncan, Schofield, Aknola – all have had death threats and none has produced the documentation.

The people who are truly in danger have the evidence. Bishop Robinson has produced the letters, cards, e-mail that prove the threats against him, his husband, and his family.

I took the liberty of e-mailing the Archbishop at the only e-mail address listed on the Church of Uganda's web page. This is the text of my e-mail to him.

Dear Archbishop Orombi;

I was greatly concerned when I read your recent comment regarding the threats against your life by the gay community. These threats need to be publicized. Would you please be so kind as to supply me with copies of the death threats so that I may post them on my blog?



I will post his reply.

There is a wee article by Steven Addison over on Reuters UK Blog about Lambeth, women bishops and gay clergy. The entry is entitled Jesus is “weeping on the streets.” One of the comments is by a Mr. Jock Chalmers

It is not often that you can say that businesses seem to have higher moral values than the church, but most business do not condone discrimination and believe in equality and diversity and treating everyone with respect….unlike the church which believes in bigotry and prejudice.

Perhaps we should all start acting like adults and just take responsibility for our own lives rather than leave it to the church……and if you need to have a belief…then let’s believe in the [Mark’s and Spenser’s] equality policy….it’s bound to be far more enlightened than any church!

Mr. Chalmers’ comment hit me like a brick because it is spot on about a segment of the church and, indeed, of all Christendom. The religious institutions are just about the last place that open discrimination (misogyny and homophobia) can and are legally practiced – openly, joyfully, and bostingly practiced.

Fortunately there are a few churches who have moved beyond the last bastion of discrimination and are fighting for equality. No, not for equality – for justice and to follow Jesus command to love our sisters and brothers, friends and strangers, as we love ourselves.

If Mr. Orombi and his ilk shared 0.001 percent of the self-love they have, the world would be turned upside down again for Jesus.

My childhood/teenage years priest, The Rev. Richard Beaumont used to say, “Whenever I encounter a person who is so filled with hate against anything or any group, I see a person with bloody strong leanings in that direction.” It's sad that there are still those who feel that in order to feel adequate, they must attack and vilify another group. That is not a Christian virtue.


Make sure to read the Ugandan take on Orombi. You’ll find it at GayUganda.

Blogging from Lambeth grows officially and unoffically

Media Press Release from The Episcopal Church (affectionately known as “815”).

Comprehensive written and multimedia coverage of the 2008 Lambeth Conference and Spouses Conference will be provided by Episcopal Life Online throughout the July 16-August 3 gatherings in Canterbury, England.

Official media briefings and reports of special events -- including the July 20 Opening Eucharist and the July 24 walk of bishops for the Millennium Development Goals in London -- will be posted to Episcopal Life Online as on-demand video streams.

An initiative of the Episcopal Church's public affairs office, daily accounts of the activities of the Lambeth Conference, penned by different bishops, will be released each conference day. These bishops will also serve as official media briefers. In addition to Episcopal Life Online, the daily accounts will be available on EpiScope and NewsLine.

A team of bishops will serve as Blogging Bishops, which will be available on The Lambeth Journal. The bishops will include Sean Rowe of Northwestern Pennsylvania (lead blogger); Laura Ahrens, suffragan of Connecticut; Marc Andrus of California; Larry Benfield of Arkansas; Sergio Carranza, assistant of Los Angeles; Neff Powell of Southwestern Virginia; Bavi Edna "Nedi" Rivera, suffragan of Olympia; Jean Zache Duracin of Haiti.

Meanwhile, the September issue of Episcopal Life's monthly newspaper will carry conference wrap-up news, features and analysis, while August editions of the Episcopal Life Weekly bulletin inserts will continue to address conference-related themes.

See the previous post for a list of blogging bishops, clerics and lay folk. I will be reading Duncan’s blog to see what the GAFCON group thinks.

08 July 2008

Lambeth vs. Jerusalem

I know what you’re thinking, “Kyrie eleison! Not another blurb about GAFCON.” But there is something that I think is worth noting.

The GAFCON conclave was as secret as the exact amount of gold in Fort Knox. No one was admitted to the conference except for a litmus test chosen few.

There were even wanted posters of the most dangerous heretics to be kept out at all costs. There was no ecumenical presence and no press whatsoever. This was definitely a meeting of only the true Christians – the predestined.

By contrast, Lambeth will not be a covert event. In addition to a monumental media presence, there will also be ecumenical participation.

  • Ivan, Cardinal Dias, head of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples will address the conference as will
  • Brian McLarin, an American evangelical and founder of the Cedar Ridge Community Church

Among other ecumenical participants at the conference are:

  • Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, Armenian Church;
  • The Revd Dr Canon Joel Edwards, Evangelical Alliance, UK;
  • The Revd Prof Robert Gribben, World Methodist Council;
  • Metropolitan Kallistos of Diolkeia, Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople;
  • Cardinal Walter Kasper, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity;
  • The Revd Samuel Kobia, General Secretary of the World Council of Churches;
  • The Revd Dr Ishmael Noko, General Secretary of the Lutheran World Federation;
  • Patriarch Theophilus III, Patriarchate of Jerusalem;
  • The Very Revd Prof Iain Torrance, World Alliance of Reformed Churches;
  • The Revd Dr Geoff Tunnicliffe, Director of the World Evangelical Alliance.

In addition to these ecumenical relationships, some member churches of the Anglican Communion have established full communion agreements with churches of other traditions, involving a complete mutual recognition of ministry and sacraments. Several representatives of these full communion partners will also participate in the conference:

  • Archbishop Joris Vercammen and Bishop Joachim Vobbe, Old Catholic Churches of the Union of Utrecht;
  • Bishop Ernst Baasland, Church of Norway;
  • Metropolitan Mar Basilios, Malabar Independent Syrian Church;
  • The Most Revd Godfredo David, Iglesia Filipina Independiente;
  • Bishop Mark Hanson, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America;
  • Bishop Susan Johnson, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada;
  • Archbishop Jukka Paarma, Finnish Lutheran Church;
  • Bishop Ragnar Persenius, Church of Sweden;
  • Archbishop Karl Sigurbjornsson, Icelandic Lutheran Church.

Jesus said,

I have spoken openly to the world. I have continually taught in some synagogue or in the Temple where all the Jews are wont to assemble, and I have said nothing in secret. (Weymouth NT, John 18.20)

07 July 2008

Church of England says "yes" to women in first round of voting

After passing two amendments, the Church of England said “yes” to the consecration of women. The short version is that this Synod:

(a) affirm that the wish of its majority is for women to be admitted to the episcopate;

(b) affirm its view that special arrangements be available, within the existing structures of the Church of England, for those who as a matter of theological conviction will not be able to receive the ministry of women as bishops or priests;

(c) affirm that these should be contained in a statutory national code of practice to which all concerned would be required to have regard; and

(d) instruct the legislative drafting group, in consultation with the House of Bishops, to complete its work accordingly, including preparing the first draft of a code of practice, so that the Business Committee can include first consideration of the draft legislation in the agenda for the February 2009 group of sessions."

According to Mark Harris,

There will be women bishops, there will be a strong reaction. There will not be peace in the valley. But the C of E did something substantive. They declared that it is the wish of the church leadership that "women be admitted to the episcopate." Thanks be God.

Now we wait for appointment, and for the code of practice. Assuming that appointment waits on the code being in place it will be a while before there are actual women bishops in the CofE.

This is only the first of two necessary steps to make women’s consecration canon law. A committee will draft the final form of the statute and it will be voted upon in February. Th motion could fail. The hardliners aren't finished fighting yet. It's also worth noting that this will be statutory -- it will be canon law and there is no hiding from it in 'women free safe zones.'

Damian Thompson of The Telegraph has an excellent analysis of today’s bold move by the General Synod

A couple of hours ago, the Church of England decisively severed itself from its Catholic roots. By voting to ordain women bishops without significant safeguards for traditionalists, it reasserted its identity as a Protestant Church. Whether it will be a liberal or conservative Protestant denomination remains to be seen. But any hope of unity with Rome and the Orthodox has gone forever.

I'm not sorry. From the moment the C of E voted to ordain women priests in 1992, it cut itself off from the Catholic mainstream. But unexpectedly generous safeguards allowed traditionalists to cordon themselves off from the rest of the Church, persuading themselves that they, rather than the main body, preserved its true Catholic identity.

This was always a delusion, and now it is truly unsustainable. The General Synod tonight made a commonsense decision. If you have women priests, you must have women bishops - indeed, I remember Dr David Hope, then Bishop of London, telling me that the Church should in theory have started with women bishops and then moved on to priests.

What the Anglo-Catholics have lost tonight is their standing in the Church of England. They are no longer honoured traditionalists who have been allowed to preserve an (almost) watertight communion of their own, nurtured by powerful bishops who sustain their sacramental purity.

From now on, they will be the C of E's granny in the attic, whose eccentricities are tolerated only at family get-togethers. If, that is, they are silly enough to stay.

What a painful debate this was. This time round, in contrast to 1992, the Synod knew it was demolishing a wing of the building, and there was preciously little triumphalism. Dr Rowan Williams seemed especially crushed: he had argued - reluctantly - for tight safeguards for traditionalists, but the assembly ignored his advice. That doesn't bode well for Lambeth. [Emphasis added.]

Bishop Robinson and Lambeth

The Rt. Rev’d. V. Gene Robinson will be attending Lambeth on the fringe. The Archbishop wrongly chose to exclude +Robinson from participation in the biggest event in the Anglican Communion.

Bishop Robinson will be speaking in a number of unofficial venues including two evening events sponsored by The Episcopal Church’s bishops (well, most of them, any road). Bishop Robinson will be blogging from Lambeth. You may read his Canterbury Tales from the Fringe here.

Additionally, he will be posting a daily video blog for Claiming the Blessing. The blog is called The Lambeth Gene Pool. I like that! You will be able to view the video blog here.

The following is a post by +Robinson:

First, pray for the Lambeth Conference of Bishops, the Anglican Communion and the Archbishop of Canterbury, that the bonds of affection that bind us together might be strengthened and that God's will might be discerned as we struggle to be the Church in the 21st century. Pray especially for the Episcopal Church's bishops attending the Lambeth Conference, that we might greet our brother and sister bishops with grace and hospitality and be ready to learn what they have to teach us.

Then, please pray for me. Because the Archbishop of Canterbury chose to exclude me from the Lambeth Conference, I will need to be intentional about creating opportunities for interacting with bishops and spouses from around the Anglican Communion. Pray that God might open up those opportunities for conversation and open my heart for mutual learning.

Because of controversy surrounding my attendance, and the incessant press coverage which will undoubtedly insert itself, pray that God might keep me grounded in the Spirit of love, forgiveness and compassion.

Because of threats against my life that have already begun, pray that God might keep me (and those who have been hired to protect me) safe, and return me home to you.

During this whole time, I'll be praying with the Franciscan brothers and sisters at Greyfriars, in Canterbury. Join me in giving thanks for their hospitality and witness.


· Thursday, July 10: I will be speaking at the Modern Churchperson's Union conference (along with former Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold, the Primate of Wales, and several African bishops).

· Sunday, July 13: I will be preaching at St. Mary's, Putney (just across the Thames from London, in the Diocese of Southwark). This will be the only time I'm allowed to preach while in England.

· Monday, July 14: British premiere of the documentary "For the Bible Tells Me So," in Queen Elizabeth Hall, at the South Bank Centre for the Arts. I will be appearing with Daniel Karslake, the filmmaker, and Shakespearean actor (and Lord of the Rings star) Sir Ian McKellen. This event will be a fund-raiser for AIDS work in Africa.

· Wednesdays, July 23 and 30: American bishops will be hosting two "Come meet our brother bishop Gene" evenings, open only to bishops and spouses. I will be "introduced" by several clergy and lay leaders from NH in a little DVD we've made for the event. Then I'll have a chance to engage bishops from around the Communion and tell them about the work of the Gospel here in NH.

· August 3-6, I'll be preaching and speaking in Glasgow and Edinburgh, Scotland, as guest of the Church that gave us bishops some 200+ years ago.

06 July 2008

A Church Worth Fighting For

The 7 July edition of The Guardian has an interesting article entitled “Church of England to consider introducing ‘super-bishops’ to avert crisis over women.”

Introduced by the Rt. Rev’d. John Packer, bishop of Ripon and Leeds, the plan, if approved, would provide anti-women priests and congregations who “cannot accept the authority of women bishops” a ‘safe place.’ Packer said, “I don’t think compromise is a dirty word.” He should take a lesson from The Episcopal Church’s 30-year history of compromise. The Episcopal Church would not be in the mess it is in had it chosen the direct rout instead of compromise.

The General Synod has already agreed to ordain women as bishops. Monday’s vote concerns how far each side is prepared to compromise in order to avoid deadlock. The draft of the legislation will be presented to the synod in February based upon the results of the various votes Monday. Senior women clergy in the Church of England said they would rather see the vote on implementing the consecration of women rather than accept discriminatory legislation. To that, I say, “here, here!”

The article also gives is a glimpse into Sunday’s sermon by ++Williams which he preached to a packed York Minster

He spoke of the "agonies and complexities" facing the church as it struggled with controversial issues, and expressed his belief that Jesus would be with all those affected. He told the congregation: "In the middle of all our discussion at synod, where would Jesus be? With those traditionalists, feeling the church is falling away from them, the landmarks have shifted? [Jesus] will be with those in a very different part of the landscape - who feel things are closing in, that their position is under threat, that their liberties are being taken away by those anxious and eager to enforce their ideologies in the name of Christ.

"He will be with the gay clergy who wonder what their future is in a church so anxious and threatened about this issue." Some members of the congregation said they were moved to tears by his words and welcomed his generosity and compassion.

It is tragic to say that in the year 2008 William’s comment about gay clergy was a bold statement by the archbishop. But it was. This is the Welshman we used to know – bold and not afraid to express his convictions. Are we seeing the pre-Canterbury Williams arise from the flames now that the people with whom he sided against The Episcopal Church have turned their sights on him and the Church of England?

Williams later told the Guardian: "This is a church worth fighting for. Nobody wants to leave it, and nobody wants to lose it." He is correct. Too bad, he did not think TEC was worth the fight.

And for my two pence, this probably the best quote from the sermon:

“[Jesus] will be with the people we don’t much want to sit with, because that’s a place he always occupies. He pipes for them, and they will dance, because in their unprotectedness they are able to meet him at a level any of us can’t.”

Mark Harris has posted the text of the Archbishop’s sermon here.



Jonathan Wynne-Jones of the Daily Telegraph agrees with my opinion. The article is well worth the read for many reasons. You will find it here.

After six years in the post, this could well become a defining moment for Dr Rowan Williams - the time when the real Archbishop appeared before his Church.

He has been weighed down by the crises that have engulfed the Anglican communion virtually ever since his arrival at Lambeth - pulled this way and that by the warring factions in the battles over homosexuality and women bishops.

Today, however, he grew in stature as the sermon went on, emerging by the end of it as the leader that the Anglican communion so desperately needs - compassionate yet direct and vulnerable yet firm.

However, Dr Williams is not going to be cowed anymore into trying to appease everyone. That was what came across from his sermon. He has done his best to keep everyone within the Anglican fold since he was made Archbishop, but now he is going to say what he thinks. And what he feels.

Today, the Church saw a leader, who seemed freed and who is now standing tall.

Rowan Williams stands tall

Lambeth Bloggers

Our most reliable Lambeth news sources

Jim Naughton’s Lambeth Page
Canterbury Tales from the Fringe
Bishop Robinson
Episcopal Life Online
The Lambeth Journal
News Line

Clergy and Laity bloggin from Lambeth

The Lambeth Gene Pool. Bishop Robinson
Christopher Epting, Episcopal Church Ecumenical Officer.
Charles Jenkins, Louisiana.
George Councell, New Jersey.
Mike Hill, Bishop of Bristol.
Robert Duncan, Pittsburgh
Dorsey Henderson, Upper South Carolina.
Marc Andrus, California.
David Chillingworth, Bishop of St. Andrews, Dunkeld and Dunbane.
George Packard, Suffragan for Chaplaincies.
James Stanton, Dallas.
Province of Brazil
Larry Benfield, Arkansas
Andrew Doyle, Texas.
Carol Gallagher, assisting in North Dakota.
Pierre Whalon, Episcopal Churches in Europe
Elizabeth Keaton, priest
Porter Taylor, Bishop Western North Carolina
Elizabeth Keaton, priest
Porter Taylor, Bishop Western North Carolina
Kirk Smith, Diocese of Arizona
Chilton Knudsen and Stephen Lane, Diocese of Maine
Pierre Whalon, Churches in Europe.
Michael Hough, Diocese of Ballarat, Australia
Thomas Ely, Diocese of Vermont
Mike Hill, Bishop of Bristol, C of E
Mauricio Andrade Brazil.
Wayne Smith, Diocese of Missouri
Larry Benfield, Diocese of Arkansas.

The Bloggers of Lambeth

Our most reliable Lambeth news sources

Jim Naughton’s Lambeth Page

Canterbury Tales from the Fringe Bishop Robinson
Episcopal Life Online

The Lambeth Journal


News Line

Clergy and Laity bloggin from Lambeth

The Lambeth Gene Pool. Bishop Robinson
Christopher Epting, Episcopal Church Ecumenical Officer.
Charles Jenkins, Louisiana.
George Councell, New Jersey.
Mike Hill, Bishop of Bristol.
Robert Duncan, Pittsburgh
Dorsey Henderson, Upper South Carolina.
Marc Andrus, California.
David Chillingworth, Bishop of St. Andrews, Dunkeld and Dunbane.
George Packard, Suffragan for Chaplaincies.
James Stanton, Dallas.
Province of Brazil
Larry Benfield, Arkansas
Andrew Doyle, Texas.
Carol Gallagher, assisting in North Dakota.
Pierre Whalon, Episcopal Churches in Europe
Elizabeth Keaton, priest
Porter Taylor, Bishop Western North Carolina
Elizabeth Keaton, priest
Porter Taylor, Bishop Western North Carolina

Plotting with the Vatican

An article in The Telegraph reports that “senior Church of England bishops” have been in privy conclave with Vatican officials regarding both gays and women bishops. The article states that the talks have been going on without the knowledge or approval of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

In highly confidential discussions, a group of conservative bishops expressed their dismay at the liberal direction of the Church of England and their fear for its future.

Although no one is talking on either side, no one denies the secret talks took place. According to The Daily Mail, The Rt. Rev’d. Kiernan Conroy, Roman Catholic bishop of Arundel and Brighton:

A number of Church of England bishops are looking at the options open to them should things go wrong at the Lambeth Conference.' [Emphasis added.]

The meetings were with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (the new name of the Holy Office of the Inquisition) which is probably the most powerful entity in the Vatican next to the pontiff. They are, obviously, in charge of enforcing doctrine.

What I find most interesting is that “insiders” say that the Bishop of Rome and ++Williams have a “strong relationship.” Hello? If Benedict and Williams have such a strong relationship, why was Williams clueless about the talks that Benedict had to approve personally?

One possibility is that the Pope believes the schismatics are going to appropriate the firm and seek reunion with the See of Peter. That is not going to fly in Parliament. Another possibility is that as Benedict seeks to move the Roman Church to the centre (from the circus-like atmosphere that the “Spirit of Vatican II” has fostered) he sees a flood of Anglo Catholics a near miracle. These are mostly younger people (baby boomers) who love the traditional trappings of pre-Vatican II liturgy. As they filter into individual Roman parishes, they will encourage the Tridentine Mass and ritual. One must wonder how Benedict will deal with their sexuality. It seems that a significant percentage of Anglo Catholics are gay males.

There is one other question we must ask: Why should this become known now. I believe the secret talks were leaked by the ultra-conservatives as an attempt to sabotage the vote Monday on the consecration of women to the episcopate in the Church of England.

Whatever the real answer is, it appears that William’s good friend, Benedict, agrees with the GAFCON crowd that Williams is a has-been and Benedict has cast his lot with the neo-Puritans. I wonder if Benedict has read all the Thirty Nine Articles. If he hasn’t he is in for a shock.

“Remember, remember, the fifth of November…” A penny if you get the connection -- that was a hint, by the way.